Friday, July 31, 2009

At a Full Stop

Is there such a thing as GPS for the soul? I've been praying a lot lately, asking for direction, but so far nothing specific has come through. I'm not feeling blank, exactly, just stalled out in terms of where I'm headed and what I'm supposed to be doing now.

The death of Jake was very cleansing, as all loss is. I feel washed more than sad these days, I feel like a clean slate, ready and as of right now, empty. I can call up the grief; it's still in process, but it's no longer pervasive, thank God. Life is no longer about 24-hour a day grieving, but what is it about? If I were an actor, I would turn to the director about now and ask, What's my motivation in this scene?

I could get another dog, sure I could. Then I could slip right back into my old routines. I could shape my days around a dog again, oh yeah. The idea is so comforting. But something in the back of my mind/heart is whispering, Wait awhile. OK. I'm waiting, as if at a stoplight.

There's no hurry, I guess, except life is short and I believe in carpe diem. Seize the day and wait? Does that sound right to you?

Looks like a setting in ancient Greece, but it's just the Supreme Court, seen from the Capitol grounds.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pen Pals

Ronda published a pic of her handwriting earlier this week, a meme she picked up somewhere. Oh. I love this meme. I agree with her that seeing a person's handwriting says so much about the individual. By doing it here in the blog world, we can finally become real pen pals. Very cool! Thanks, Ronda.

The above pic is a page from my personal journal, written one week after Jake died. I chose this page because it includes one of my doodles. I think of my doodles as part of my handwriting. They are woven in with almost every page of my personal journal, and often accompany to-do lists, notes to my roommates and such.

It blows me away to think that, before the typewriter was invented - not that long ago! - all books were written by hand. Think about it. Could Stephen King or Barbara Cartland have cranked out as many books if they had had to write them by hand? The idea itself is daunting. I love thinking about, for instance, Tolstoy, with nothing more than a quill and inkwell, writing every word in War and Peace. That dude was mighty!

An interview of the great comic artist Lynda Barry a few years ago included this story: when she was writing her book, The Good Times are Killing Me, she got a terrible case of writer's block. Finally she went into her art studio, picked up her paintbrush and began again. After that, the story flowed out of her. She painted her book. Wow. (It's a great book, fantastic. Not very long, understandably).

Writing by hand is slow; even I - a great lover of cursive script - become impatient with the process sometimes. I'm a super fast typist, and, too, there's writer's cramp, a very real, very unpleasant side effect of writing by hand. But when I'm creating an outline from which to teach (for instance), I can't do that via a QWERTY keyboard. It's such a different way of thinking. My personal journal would not be personal if it wasn't written by hand. Speaking only for myself here, of course.

Handwriting is a quirky, unique and completely personal expression of the mystery of the individual. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that some of you will publish images of your own handwriting. If you feel like it, that is.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Counterintuitive Advice

Rob Breszny, one of my favorite astrologers, says:

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): "Keep exploring what it takes to be the opposite of who you are," suggests psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of the book *Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention.* This advice is one of his ideas about how to get into attunement with the Tao, also known as being in the zone or getting in the groove or being aligned with the great cosmic flow. How would you go about being the opposite of who you are, Aquarius? According to my reading of the omens, that will be an excellent question for you to muse about in the coming weeks. As you stretch yourself to embody the secret and previously unknown parts of you, I think you'll be pleased with how much more thoroughly that allows you to be in sync with the rhythms of life.

I'm tickled by his advice this week, trying to imagine the opposite of me. I should wear a business suit, balance my checkbook, avoid reading and watch a lot more television. Or I could eat junk food, stop cleaning my room, smoke cigarettes, engage in some ruthless and hurtful gossip. Definitely I should stop writing, taking photographs and drawing, blow off my morning meditation, rent a car so as to avoid walking, maybe go on a diet. More than anything, in order to be the opposite of me, I must stop thinking.

Oh. Maybe it would be a good thing to stop thinking for awhile. And I could balance my checkbook, couldn't I? I'm not saying those things wouldn't allow me to be more in sync with the rhythms of life, would they?

Come to think of it, I could bat my eyelashes at attractive men, couldn't I? I could make another stab at shopping for clothing. I could stay up too late having fun with people I love, stop talking to the dead and start hanging out more with the living. Couldn't I? OK Rob I'm getting the idea. Thanks, friend. I'll give it a try. Why not?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Disclaimer follows post.

He comes to visit me these days when I'm feeling sad, when I'm missing my old dog (who died exactly four weeks ago today). Sometimes he sits on the couch. More often he lies on the bed next to me, staring at the ceiling, talking.

He's a young soldier, maybe 18 or 19. He has short blond hair, fair skin with a few adolescent blemishes, squarish face, dark eyes. His frame is boxy though his arms and legs are skinny. He has an accent, maybe W. Virginia or a bit further west - Tennessee or Kentucky? It's not the soft, classy drawl of upper class coastal southerners. He calls himself "Vince" and addresses me as "ma'am" even though I've told him that is not necessary.

Apparently Vince has been a soldier in many of his lifetimes, always (so far) on the losing side of the conflict. He has never been an officer or anyone removed from the front lines. This life pattern is so ingrained in him that by comparison, life as a dog was a "pass" as he says. He says it was so easy, he was amazed every day that he never had to worry about being hungry, thirsty, about being too hot or too cold or overworked in any way. Even so, he's not too interested in being a dog again. His goal is to rebirth as a soldier on the winning side of a war. I guess that's a worthy ambition. I guess.

Vince tells me that dying by way of an anesthetic overdose was "a rush," and "beats hell out of" dying on a battlefield, thirsty and bleeding, in horrible pain or numb, listening for hours, sometimes even days, to the moans and groans of the dying soldiers around him. Better than dying of the flu, or from wound infections in fly infested field hospitals, too. Dying by anesthetic overdose was like water skiing, he tells me. Strange comparison, don't you think?

When the sadness abates, or I get sleepy, he always looks at me carefully for a minute or two. Then he says, "Goodbye, ma'am," and fades away. That Vince is so sweet.

Disclaimer: I'll be the first to admit that this might be all in my imagination, or that it's a psychological technique my unconscious is using to unwind from losing my one and only dog. Since I deal with dead soldiers all the time, I prefer to think it's "real" but please remember I'm a bit looser with my definition of that idea than most. Don't worry - I'm no further off the deep end than usual. Really. I'm OK.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Blog Families

One of my favorite "real life" gathering places, the fountain at the National Gallery sculpture garden.

Because we are social predators and run in packs in "real" life, here in the blog world, we form clans, too. Family for homo sapiens includes blood family, family by way of spiritual beliefs, friendships, shared experience, as well as by way of organizations, clubs, community. In fact it's kind of hard for us to shape ourselves into groups of any kind without adopting each other. I find this human truth absolutely adorable.

Almost six years ago when I started blogging, I knew exactly how I found every blog I read. The process was quite orderly in the beginning. Today I can only remember how, and through whom, I found a handful of the bloggers I love. Especially during the past year my blog world has expanded exponentially; I lost track long ago of when and how I found most of my blogfellows.

It's OK. My blogfellows are family. How or why we have become related to each other is not important to me. An adoption of some sort has taken place: magically, digitally, cyberspacially. Don't ask me how it happens, I can't explain it. Some bloggers are sisters or brothers, some are cousins, while others are more distant relatives like cousins twice removed (never understood what that means), but all are related. In my clan we do a dance in which we are sometimes closer, sometimes not so close. I think bees do a similar dance within their hives. I might be making that up ... not sure.

One of the most interesting anthropological (or sociological?) phenomenon of blogging is the way our clans form and how individual bloggers come and go from the clans. I imagine within ten years someone will earn a Ph.D. based on a dissertation about this very thing, the migrations of bloggers from blogclan to blogclan. Mark my words - it'll happen. A Doctor of Bloggography. I'll bet you!

In this brand new Age of Aquarius, it's kind of hard to be a loner. You can still do it if you want to, but even those of us who, in "real" life, are shy and introverted, can party with our luxuriously large blog families without becoming drained as we do at "real" parties. There's something for everyone here, oh yeah!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Missed it!

The space station and space shuttle are hooked up right now which makes for a lot of reflective surface up there in orbit. Last night and tonight, as it makes its rounds of the earth, the station-shuttle will be as bright as Venus, which means visible even to we urban dwellers. Even cooler is that it will rise in the west and move to the east. Wicked cool if you ask me.

Last night it was stormy and overcast so I didn't get to see it. But tonight is a second chance. The forcast calls for more thunderstorms but I'm keeping my fingers crossed anyway.

As fun as seeing the reflected sunlight off the space station-shuttle would be thinking about the fact that there are humans up there, hanging out, gossiping (probably) and gazing back at this beautiful blue marble in space. Do astronauts still drink Tang? I'm praying for clear skies. C'mon weather gods, work with me here, please?

The black eyed susans look a bit intimidated by the thorns, don't they?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Perceptual Schematics

Everyone's favorite birdbath, outside the P & C Market by Lincoln Park.

I think we humans are dualistic in outlook for the simple reason that our physical design is about symmetry; two eyes, two ears, two hands, two feet. We have left and right lobes in our brains, left and right chambers in our hearts, two kidneys, two lungs, etc. We are physiologically almost symmetrical.

The world we live in is - in the coarsest sense - a strictly defined yin/yang environment of winter and summer, night and day. We oscillate, breathing in, then out, we sleep then wake up.

OK I know - what about spring? Fall? How about dawn and dusk? Trance states, the space between the breaths? What about dark matter? Where does THAT fit in with my simple schematic of the world as I perceive it? True, I'm being crude in looking at the world as a black and white place. Maybe I should say it's easier to think dualistically. Probably that's better said.

Because it's easier, I've always thought of paradox as a combination of opposites, but lately I'm thinking more holographically, that paradox contains not only the opposites but all the phases inbetween, that (for instance) Jake's death was the saddest event of my life so far, while also a tremendous relief, plus every other kind of emotion that falls between those extremes. The paradox of Jake's death (as well as its impact on me) would look more like Steven's fibronacci clouds than any depiction of half-empty, half-full. Holographic perception makes Jake's death more interesting. Since I'm grieving like crazy, it might as well be interesting, don't you think?

The parallel rites of passage occuring within my family soul become a lovely kaleidoscope when I think holographically. It's a design in which my great nephew's birth becomes elegantly entangled with the sadness of Jake's death, as well as with the death of my sister's cat, Hobbes.

Oh for heaven's sake, what am I talking about? I think the heat is getting to me. Time for a glass of iced tea and a break from my furrowed brow and tendency to overthink. Yes? Yes!

Dualistic me, dualistic flowers ... but where's Jake?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Parallel Rites of Passage

Families share DNA, they share history, too, though it's not unusual for each individual to remember family stories differently. The family argument in which there's a dispute about how things really went down is almost a cliche.

One thing I believe families share is an oversoul, a family soul that is some kind of ethereal amalgamation of all the individual souls. It won't surprise you to learn that I believe family souls have their own brand of sentience. Clashes between families (like the Hatfields vs. the McCoys or the Montagues vs. the Capulets) are, according to the cosmology of Reya, between the family souls. Clan vs. clan rarely has anything to do with the individuals involved. Should individuals act against the biases of the family soul, things never go well for them. Never.

There are also family souls that adopt each other. When that happens, an extended family is created in which all individuals understand that they are related - not by blood, but at a soul level.

Within the Mellicker family, there have been many instances of parallel experience that I believe have more to do with the karmic path of our family soul than anything else. My sisters each gave birth to a son within a year or two of each other, followed by a daughter, also within a year of each other. One of my sisters and I both married very young and very stupidly, to passionate Scorpios (we are both Aquarians), and were subsequently divorced within a short period of time. I could go on, but you get the idea.

This summer the parallel rites of passage within my blood family have been truly remarkable. My great nephew was born, a week "late", about three hours before Jake died. Our family soul opened a door. One soul incarnated while another departed, indeed. Yesterday one of my sisters had to say goodbye to her beloved pet, her 21-year old cat, Hobbes. When Jake died, I leaned heavily on her. Now I can be there for her because I do know exactly what she's going through.

Does misery love company? Because it has definitely helped me a lot to move through this time of loss, shoulder to shoulder - or maybe I should say heart to heart, with my sister. I'm thinking today of her beloved cat. May he rest in peace.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Earthly Pleasures

This is Stonewall, a Park Police horse posing in silhouette on the White House Elipse.

I love to sweat, a fact I almost forgot because this summer has been so cool and dry. Yesterday was the perfect day to remember. It was hot and humid, but there was a breeze with a hint of coolness in it and sentience, too, since it stirred and moved past me anytime I was tempted to get on the Metro or go indoors for awhile. The timing was remarkable, oh yeah. That breeze encouraged me to keep walking. It was an epic, fantastic, sweaty, beautiful walk.

There were wonderful sights to see, such as these distinguished looking gentlemen playing chess in Lafayette Park (and a lovely woman behind them, reading intently):

And this unexpected sight - two swanky women walking barefoot on Connecticut Avenue in front of the Tiny Jewelbox:

And this sequence of clouds floating past the Washington Monument. Doesn't the cloud in the very last picture look exactly like Louisiana?

Of course the best part about a big walk is the aftermath which includes (for me, in this order) a cool glass of water or two (water never tastes better) a cool shower, then an ice cold beer.

Life does not get better than that, does it? It can't possibly. No way. Yes? Yes.

Back on Capitol Hill, I saw this perfect sunflower in a garden on E. Capitol Street.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wowed by the Eclipse

From the the Associated Press story about yesterday's eclipse:

Chinese launched fireworks and danced in Shanghai. On a remote Japanese island, bewildered cattle went to their feeding troughs thinking night had fallen. And in India, a woman was crushed as thousands of viewers crowded the banks of the Ganges for a glimpse.

Eclipses are a big deal even now in our post-modern age in which the tendency (in my culture anyway) is to reduce the event to nothing more than a chance to study the sun's corona. For heaven's sake. We scientific-minded folks love to take all the fun and mystery out of everything, don't we?

A German friend wrote an amazing piece (a number of years ago) about her experience of an eclipse. She gathered with others at a park somewhere in northern Germany where people picnicked and chatted until the moment of totality when everything got quiet including the birds, including the small children. No one moved a muscle, the breeze died down. She said everything just stopped. When the light returned, people shed tears. It was involuntary, perhaps (the Germans are stoic people), but at least physiologically, those who witnessed this amazing event felt its power. An eclipse is a lot more than a chance to study the sun's corona. Please.

Isn't it miraculous that the moon's orbit places it at the perfect distance from the earth, so that during an eclipse it covers only and exactly the face of the sun? I find that simple fact amazing. Miraculous, too, is that yesterday's eclipse occured just as the sun was transiting from the sign of Cancer (that is ruled by the moon) to the sign of Leo (that is ruled by the sun).

Don't ask me what it means; I have no idea. But I love any big powerful celestial event, don't you? Oh yeah!

The pics on the Associated Press story are GREAT ... a Sadhu wearing eclipse glasses, a Japanese seal wearing sunglasses, a monk watching through a telescope, a crowd on the shore of the Ganges, etc. Very cool.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

An Awareness of Awareness

Looks like the sun is inside this cloud, but actually it was on the other side of the sky.

Once upon a time, people believed only our species possessed subjective awareness. Eventually, as we paid closer attention, we had to finally admit that animals, too, have minds that can be aware of themselves. Initially we only conceded that animals closely related to us could be sentient, but the list has grown by leaps and bounds, now including even one-celled animals. In recent years we have added plants to the list of sentient beings. I just read an article about Venus flytraps and the way they plan to "hunt" their prey. A few years ago NPR did a creepy story about vines and how they "sniff" out the plants they want to strangle. There was an accompanying video on their website. Most recently physicists have even added subatomic particles and DNA to the category.

These "discoveries" are no surprise to me. I believe that sentience pervades the multiverse. Like many of my Pagan brothers and sister, and lots of indigenous cultures, I think rocks, trees, clouds, stars, the sun and the moon - even dirt - are sentient. The sentience of dirt is more subtle than our brash human sentience - of course! But it's there. I sense it, I do.

In fact I've been thinking, especially since Jake died, that the life force itself has its own particular sentience, that it finds a way, as Jeff Goldblum said in the movie Jurassic Park. Part of life force sentience is a survival instinct. Life wants to keep on keeping on, no matter what. I think that's why even when people (or dogs) are old and sick and feeble as can be, there's still a struggle of sorts when death comes to tap them on the shoulder. Life force sentience is determined to hang on as long as possible.

My theory du jour is that there is a struggle even for people who lay down for a nap and never wake up, or keel over in mid-flight, or just die suddenly and "unexpectedly." We may not see the struggle, but the resonance of death is equally traumatic for the living, whether death was "peaceful" or not. Our shock and sadness is a symptom of something we've intuited about the process of dying. After death, everything calms down, but that passage through the gate - whoa! It's a struggle. Maybe the soul is trying to break free while the sentient life force is trying to hold on. Do you think?

My mother thought of the life force (well, specifically sexuality) as a kind of bully, controlling us through hormonal surges, and though I understand what she was talking about, I don't see it that way. I think life is a precious existence, well worth all the sturm und drang of it all, including the final battle.

Life is good (and it knows that). Carpe diem, y'all. Cheers!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Colorado Weather

St. Mark's Church at 3rd and A St. SE. It's an Episcopal church, also a gathering place and community center. St. Mark's has heart.

Summer in DC, so far at least, has been absolutely perfect; i.e. drier than usual, cooler than usual. With the exception of a sticky or hot day here or there, it has been absolutely civilized: hot enough to wear shorts and sandals, but not so hot that I want to stay indoors with the windows closed and the air conditioning switched on. Since Jake's death, I have needed a lot of outdoor time. Of course the weather doesn't shape itself around my needs, but I appreciate the synchronicity.

If you're interested in meteorological explanations, you could read this. Of course I have an alternate theory, in fact I'm certain I could come up with several alternate theories if you gave me a few minutes. My theories are not based on the science of meteorology.

Whatever the reasons, this seasonal fluke is a blessing. Thanks, Weather Gods! Thank you so much!!

Southeast corner of Lincoln Park.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Up and Down

Grieving is awkward. It lurches forward, then falls on its face, takes a nap, but then it comes back to bite you in the butt. It's not graceful.

Brand new grief is almost luminous in a way; awkward but shiny. It strips off the skin and leaves a person so open and vulnerable, it's almost glamorous. After the first bit of time passes, grief loses it luster. It gets crusty and annoying to the griever as well as to everyone else.

I miss my dog. I do. I'm not crying all the time anymore; I'm no longer a wreck. I've been able to come up for air and realize this life changing event will most likely yield great benefits at some point in time. No one needs to reassure me of that anymore; I'm OK, really. But.

Jake was not a good dog, but damn he had character. When he was younger, I always felt safe with him by my side. He was so powerful. All through his life (until he got very old and frail), I have no doubt he would have fought to the death to protect me. So glad he never had to.

I miss him.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Arbiters of Fate

[Start disclaimer... This is a really weird one ...End disclaimer]

One of the things I'm really looking forward to seeing, while at Lake Tahoe, are stars. A serious drawback to being an urban dweller is that the night sky, even when fantastically clear, is opaque, a sickly pink (from all the streetlights) without a lot of detail. I can almost always see the moon, Venus and maybe a couple of other planets, but stars? At least here on Capitol Hill, even on the clearest nights, I can only see five to ten stars.

In lieu of direct contact, I read about them, look at the Astronomy Picture of the Day website (religiously), watch for pics and descriptions of them on other blogs. I read astrological charts, astronomy books and magazines. I make constellation paintings, draw constellations in my personal journal. I love the old books of sky illustrations - people used to see so much just by gazing at the night sky. Wow.

Perhaps I shouldn't admit that I talk to the stars all the time. I talk to them because I believe that starlight is in some way exactly the same substance as destiny. Please don't ask me what I mean by that; I'm not sure. The patterns of stars in the sky, the way that the starry sky holds all of of time from the Big Bang onwards (depending on what you're looking at) leads me to believe that those fiery suns out there shine with mystery and history, creation and destruction, in other words: destiny. The great artist Hiroshige worshiped the Pole Star. I really get that; it makes perfect sense to me.

Probably I'm not the first star worshiper to imagine that the stars have administrative assistants, scholar-bureaucrats who handle the complexities of destiny. Surely there must be a lot of administrative "paperwork" involved in making the fateful connections between stars and people. In my mind's eye what I "see" are stellar switchboard operators working hard to make sure we stay connected with our personal destinies. I call these beings the Star Mandarins and I think they sometimes swoop down close to the surface here, perhaps to have a closer look at the objects of their work, including you and me. When I see clouds like the ones in these pictures, I always wonder if the Star Mandarins are nearby.

This summer there have been a lot of these odd clouds, coming out of the nowhere, set against a very different overcast texture. They bring a distinct resonance with them. When they dissipate, the resonance also disappears. I keep reading that this year in particular, polar mesospheric clouds have been forming in abundance. The appearance of noctilucent clouds is, according to the cosmology of Reya, always connected with the approach of the Star Mandarins.

So you see I can not wait to sit out on a deck somewhere up at Tahoe, and look up into the bowl of the sky, drink in the beauty of a dark sky spangled with stars. It'll be so nice to actually see my dear friends, the Arbiters of Fate, wheeling slowly around the Pole Star as I watch. I can't wait!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bon Voyage

When was the last time I left town for more than a day or two? As best I can remember, it was the last time I taught witch camp in England, so that's at least five or six years. I've travelled a bit in order to take continuing education classes (a requirement to stay licensed as an M.T.) I've taken one day trips to NYC or up to my friend's cabin in W. Virginia, but a real trip? Not in a long time.

As Jake aged and became more finicky, I felt bad entrusting his care to my roommates (even though they were always fine doing it). During this last year, I was really loathe to leave his side even for one night. It's all part of what happens with an elderly pet - if you're me, that is. I had to fuss over my aging dog every single day; I don't regret it.

Yesterday I bought a ticket that will take me way out of DC. At the end of August, I'm going to spend six days and five nights in California (in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe). Six days and five nights outside of DC. WOW!!

I can't wait to see my friends in the city and at the lake, can't wait to take in the blue light and blue air of San Francisco, but especially I am looking forward to reconnecting with Lake Tahoe.**

Am I blubbering like an idiot? Yes? Well, that's good. A real vacation! I'm going to take a real vacation. Wow. Things are turning around. Cheers and l'chaim, y'all. Have a great weekend!

**The link is to a photo of Emerald Bay, on the California side of the lake.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New Perspectives

I think the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor are more of an anthropological event than anything else. No matter how you feel about her, it seems clear that her nomination has brought up to the surface all kinds of unnattractive foundational-level American values. Some of us are still so incredibly sexist and racist. Others among us truly turned the page a generation ago. There are real feminists, male and female - which is cool, except that somehow we feminists have been unable to drop our self-righteousness. Oh dear. An anthropologist from another planet could create a lengthy dissertation about core American values based solely on the media coverage of the confirmation hearings.

It's been awhile since I was able to notice anything happening around me, as involved as I was with Jake's last downturn and death. Yesterday the Sufi acupuncturist told me my eyes and ears have been blocked from sensing new perspectives. He did a treatment intended to help me see and hear. That was some treatment!

There's a way in which this feeling of standing upright again after being knocked down by grief is, in some way, disloyal. In the back of my mind I've wondered if feeling better might mean I didn't love Jake with all my heart. But that's crap, isn't it?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Better Angels

If you look carefully you'll see the last quarter moon in the upper left hand quadrant of the pic. I love this angel, part of the Columbus fountain in front of Union Station.

Two weeks have passed since Jake died and the truth is, I'm feeling better. So many of you, and so many of my 'real life' friends were kind enough to remind me that each day I would come back, little by little, to myself. It is happening. I've got a ways to go, but I'm feeling more whole every day. Thank God for the passage of time.

I also credit being love bombed by so many people as a big piece of the healing. If someone you know is suffering and you wish you could do more than express your sympathy, please know that those expressions of caring and empathy are genuinely, tangibly healing. No one can take away another person's pain, but when you generously offer a shoulder to cry on, or just say you wish you could change things, those simple acts make a big difference.

In addition to being love bombed, I've gone hard core with treatments. I believe treatments are post-modern, twenty first century soul retrievals. Though no one treatment is comprehensive (well ... maybe Chinese medicine is), all together they can bring back a serious chunk of soul. I've had acupuncture and therapeutic massage - of course. I've had a manicure and pedicure. Tomorrow I'm going for a haircut even though I don't really need one just yet. But I need a little bit of the sadness trimmed off. I need to lay my head back into the funny sink while someone else washes my hair. I need treatments!

The weather in DC this summer has been incredible - I'm talking low humidity and temperatures in the 80's instead of the usual scorching toxic steam bath. The glorious Colorado weather makes it possible for me to take epic walks all over the city I love so dearly. As I learned from reading The Secret Garden, fresh air is always necessary, especially to cure a broken heart.

My friends here and in 'real life,' the therapists administering the treatments, the steady ticking of the clock and even the weather gods have all conspired to help me recover. I am more grateful than words can express. All I can say is, wow.

Really cool looking, gauzy clouds gave the sky a nice texture yesterday.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I think this ancestor is saying something - or blowing smoke! Not sure which.

I "see" things. Anyone who has looked at the blog understands that. Yes I see auras and energy fields. I see alternate realities reflected from the hoods and doors of cars. When I look at satellite pictures of hurricanes, I see dragons, and yes, yes, I see the dead. OK sometimes I don't see them, but I know they are there.

Yesterday at work I "saw" a client's ancestors gathered all around her. She is about to have a baby; it seemed that they were gathering to support her through labor and delivery, and to welcome the new member of their extended family. At the end of the session she told me she felt better than she had in a long time. A gathering of loving ancestors will do that for you, it will. Five minutes after she left, while crossing the street, I saw the above. I "saw" it and I saw it.

It's always a good idea to have the camera close at hand because wow. By the time I had crossed the street - maybe ten seconds later - the clouds had radically changed shape so the face was no longer visible. It was just a glimpse, but still awesome.

As a psychic, part of my mission is to "see" the subtle realms. It's not often I get to share any of the amazing things I "see" with people who aren't particularly attuned, or interested, in alternate realities. Cool, isn't it?

LATE BREAKING NEWS: My client went into labor within a few hours of her session yesterday. The baby was born (two weeks "early") this morning around 5:00 a.m. Those ancestors got the ball rolling, definitely! Wow.

Me, times three. No Jake, though.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Heavy Metal

How sweet of this kid to throw his legs up in the air just as I was snapping this pic.

Sometimes I hear a song so compelling that I end up listening to it repeatedly, over and over again. After a few dozen listens, I know every note, every word even (and I'm not great with lyrics). I figure these songs are doing something for me; the vibrations are setting my energy in order, the melodies and ideas are reworking a segment of my neural network, or helping mend a long forgotten heartbreak. After awhile, I no longer "need" to hear the song, at which point I believe it has had its therapeutic effect.

Sometimes I get fixated on certain movies, particular foods, even art exhibits. My assumption is the same - that there's something about these minor obsessions that is helping me heal or perhaps getting me ready for a leap of personal evolution. I usually go with the flow of the repetitions, why not?

My art obsession du jour is The Art of Power: Together, some 75 works illustrate the use of luxurious armor in projecting an image of royal power in Imperial Spain. Strange, isn't it? I mean really, "luxurious armor" is definitely not my thing. What is luxurious armor anyway? If you want to know, go check out the show. The equestrian armor is truly gorgeous, while the children's armor is - well - just weird.

You don't have to hold a Ph.D. in psychology to understand why this show has caught my attention. As vulnerable and wide open as I am right now, certainly deep in my psyche I believe, at least for the moment, that sporting some fancy armor would protect me until I get my bearings again.

As for whether or not being shielded makes a person powerful ... hmmm ... not sure about that. But the show is fabulous.

National Gallery visitors, napping on the comfortable upholstery.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Prescriptions for a Lackluster Reya

Outside the Museum of the American Indian on the national mall.

I loved the book, The Secret Garden. I still love the idea that the essence of healing, for the little sickly boy in the story, was a simple, two step process: 1) spend time outdoors in the fresh air, and 2) revive a neglected garden. Eventually the combination of fresh air and gardening cures the sickly boy, the little girl who has been orphaned, and even the father. It is a potent healing. If you've never read the book, by all means check it out. It is a fabulous story.

According to the cosmology of Reya, part of why spending time outdoors is so healing is because we live inside cubes; four walls, a ceiling and a floor. That shape is very stabilizing and feels safe, but what most people need in order to heal (from anything) is to get into situations in which things can change. Disorganize the pathogens, that's the first step in healing. Energy, including illness, tends to hold its shape inside cubes. But anytime you get outside, energy can and will and does shift.

Once illness (of mind, heart, spirit or body) is disorganized, then there are a whole bunch of things you can do to get yourself back to health. Rest and good food are key components, but I also believe in cultivating emotional/mental states, such as gratitude and compassion. Having fun and laughing really helps, too, as does taking in beauty in the form of music, art, or the face of someone you love. The most complete healing includes forgiveness, a state of grace that I believe is divinely bestowed.

In my own journey of healing from the recent loss of my one and only dog, I've spent a lot of time outdoors. Walking with Tonka, the vigorous young household dog, has been fantastically healing. Yesterday I hung out with a friend who is smart, quirky and soulful, someone who loves to walk around and take pictures. That really helped, too. And I'm trying to be patient, to just let some more time pass, let this thing run its course. Patience is really hard for me.

I'm praying for the forgiveness part to kick in. I'd like to forgive myself for all the mistakes I made with Jake, to let go of everything I might have done better. It would even help if I could forgive myself for still being so sad about his death. I don't want him to be alive again, all old and frail, but this sadness is really kicking my usually cheerful ass. Hey God, could you throw me a bone here?

Wish me luck!

Botanical garden on the Capitol grounds.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Unwinding patterns

I'm no longer expecting to see Jake in the places where he hung out - in the bathroom where he hid from the world, next to the closet on the nice rug I had to throw away after he died, not in his overstuffed rocker, or next to the fan at the foot of the bed.

Funny, though, that I'm still looking for his reflection, not only in the mirror on the closet door but in car doors I pass as I'm walking around. I know he's gone, but obviously somewhere in my subconscious I believe that his reflection is still here, waiting to be digitally captured.

It's not, though. He left this world completely and took all his energy with him. He is free.

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all. Washington DC is stupendously beautiful, cool and dry this week. Wherever you are, live it up!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Now What?

At the end of any big interruption of the flow, the TV people say, And now we return to our regularly scheduled programming. That's TV, though - not "real" life. Life after Jake has not returned to its regular schedule. I have my room and roommates, I have my work, but all the rest of it is, in fact, more or less shapeless.

My spirit guides tell me that in another couple of weeks, I'm going to get creative; they tell me that I'll be doing most of everything differently than I have in many years. They are excited for me. As if to bring this point home very specifically, in my dream last night, my beloved Edward Norton was a cab driver. In the dream we are in a completely unrecognizable landscape. It's kind of like a lot of cities where I've lived, though also completely unfamiliar. Edward says, "Where can I take you?" I answer honestly, "Actually, I have no idea where I'm going." He says, "I'll wait here until you decide."

Sweet of him, isn't it? As with every role I've ever seen him play, he was completely convincing as a cab driver in my dream.

Last week my only plans were to breathe, cry, and drink water. This week I've structured my time very carefully in order to keep busy, but not overbusy. In this way I'm allowing some time to pass while I get my bearings in this new, post-Jake world I now live in. You'd better believe I'm looking forward to the promise of a burst of creativity. I'm not there yet, though, not yet.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Corporeal Intelligence

This image makes me think of that song "I'm a Little Teapot, Short and Stout."

When you cut your finger, your body responds immediately by sending clotting agents to the scene of the wound, and by beginning, instantly, to toss strings of collagen back and forth across the cut, the first steps in healing.

The mind is not so great during the first stages of wounding. Either it goes blank, a state we call shock, or it begins to create terrible stories, i.e. I might bleed out from this cut, or just the opposite, stories of denial, i.e. This is just a small cut, I don't need stitches. I'll just rinse it off and continue making dinner.

Later on in the healing process, the mind can do wonders, but initially, it's far less effective than the body itself.

During this past week, you, along with my family and friends in "real" life, have taken the role of corporeal intelligence by sending kind thoughts of condolence, sympathy cards, by telephoning, taking me out to dinner, listening, and checking up on me. I've been in a real spin. You have been the collagen and the clotting agents. I am so grateful!

Some of you said you wished you could do more than send love and compassion. Please know that your kindness has been literally and specifically and palpably helpful. It was exactly the first aid I needed but could not provide for myself. I will never be able to thank you enough. I mean that sincerely.

Yesterday I turned a corner. The shock is easing away, and life is coming back into focus. I noticed, for instance (for the the first time in a week), that the weather is unbelievably gorgeous - hot but not too hot, with lots of sunshine, puffy clouds and low humidity. I took one of the household dogs out for a walk last night. He is young and vigorous and was completely happy to walk with me. It felt so good!

Thank you SO MUCH for letting me lean on you this past week. Thank you. I'm going to be OK. Life will continue. Onwards & upwards. L'chaim!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Singular Experience

I've had a million boyfriends. OK, not a million. Let's just say I've had many romantic relationships. I've lived in cities, suburbs and small towns on the west coast, east coast and midwest of the U.S. I've had a career of careers, every hair color you can imagine (platinum blonde was a Really Bad Idea, aubergine purple looked surprisingly good). I've been a vegetarian, omnivore, carnivore. I've been Jewish, Pagan, Shaman, practiced Buddhism, studied Hinduism. Etc. But in my whole, pretty long life, I've had just one dog.

That accounts for the fact that, though I was very devoted, I was inept in my role as alpha. I was no dog whisperer, oh no. There were other ways I never quite fit in to the swing of dog ownership. For instance, I never could relate to the "mom" thing, a convention at least here in the U.S. In fact when people called me Jake's "mom" I was always slightly offended. I am not a dog and did not ever give birth to a dog. Ewww. In fact, the inter-species connection is what I found so fascinating about our relationship. The fact that I was not his mom is what worked for me. As you can imagine, I stopped trying to explain this a number of years ago.

The uniqueness of my relationship with Jake figures as one reason why I am still struggling so hard to let go. I'm OK; I'm functional, but I'm steeped in sadness and longing. To be honest, that feeling has not even begun to subside, though at least I'm not crying in public anymore. Thank God for that!

Today is the full moon; there will be a minor eclipse sometime today. I'm hoping that the peak of the moon will help shake me out of the pattern of mourning, at least a little bit. Also today is the one week anniversary of Jake's death. Maybe the passage through the seventh day will help me ease up, too. Do you think? I'm praying for a shift of some kind.

He was my best friend for fourteen years. I miss him terribly.

Monday, July 6, 2009

White Flowers

Last night
in the fields
I lay down in the darkness
to think about death,
but instead I fell asleep,
as if in a vast and sloping room
filled with those white flowers
that open all summer,
sticky and untidy,
in the warm fields.
When I woke
the morning light was just slipping
in front of the stars,
and I was covered
with blossoms.
I don’t know
how it happened—
I don’t know
if my body went diving down
under the sugary vines
in some sleep-sharpened affinity
with the depths, or whether
that green energy
rose like a wave
and curled over me, claiming me
in its husky arms.
I pushed them away, but I didn’t rise.
Never in my life had I felt so plush,
or so slippery,
or so resplendently empty.
Never in my life
had I felt myself so near
that porous line
where my own body was done with
and the roots and the stems and the flowers

--Mary Oliver